Graduate Manifesto

I've been thinking a lot lately about the singularities of this time in which we find ourselves. I've been listening to many of my friends and colleagues talk about the looming transition into the 'real working world.' For many of us, entering the job market is becoming less and less appealing in the sense that it feels empty and meaningless to be assimilated into the economic structure which we've spent the last four years studying, realizing that its underlying motivations are born of greed, hierarchical class division and persistent human rights violations.

All this for the sake of this undefined notion of 'progress' and 'development'--which, when examined critically, has driven us to the insatiable and unnerving capitalist production system that is undeniably to blame for the environmental degradation and resulting effects on human health, biodiversity, and global climate disruption. And so we find ourselves in a bit of a dilemma with regard to placing ourselves in this context, armed with knowledge and ideals, but stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of ethical participation in American society. And yet, we are supposedly among the most 'free' in the world.

So then, why do we feel our choices are limited? Why do we feel unease and discontentment with the option we have, which we have spent our youth working toward? It seems that the notion of working towards a goal, which when realized produces yet another, is a metaphor for the mechanics of our economic system that we believe in and trust like a deity. It is the endlessness of insatiability, of dissatisfaction, of individuation, the shadow of American prosperity, which disenchants us and which may (or may not) compel a new modus operandi in our generation of highly capable, highly intelligent and dedicated young people.

-Chantal Peterson '09